An expert says a "large feline" may have been spotted in Basingstoke after a resident thought it could have been a black panther.

As previously reported in the Gazette, Henrik Winberg, 43, from Winklebury was walking his dog when he spotted a large animal in the field in front of him.

Henrik was walking his dog around 5.30am up on Manydown farm when he spotted a "black panther" about 100 meters away moving fast.

The British Big Cats Society said: "The image is very interesting as it does initially look like it could be a large feline.

"However, as there is no real sense of scale and the fact the image is so poor quality – it could actually still be a dog or even a large fox.

"It could also be brown – rather than black – due to the way it is lit.

"That said – it would be useful to get more details from the photographer; as there have been many sightings of large cats in Hampshire.

"Having done this for 23 years – I am always a bit suspicious when there is only one photograph to be honest."

What is a panther?

A panther is a large cat, whose coloration is entirely black.

It is native to Asia, Africa and America.

A panther is not a distinct species itself but is the general name used to refer to any black coloured feline of the Big Cat family, most notably leopards and jaguars.

It is known to be one of the strongest climbers of all felines.

What do panthers look like?

Unlike leopards and jaguars, the panther has no spots on its long body or tail, but instead has a shiny coat of dark fur.

Panthers have small heads with strong jaws and emerald green eyes, and tend to have hind legs that are both larger and slightly longer than those at the front.

Being a member of the Big Cat family, the panther is not only one of the largest felines in the world but it is also able to roar which is something that felines outside of this group are not able to do.

What is a panthers natural habitat like?

Panthers are natively found on three of the world's continents, with their location depending on whether or not it is a black leopard or a black jaguar.

There are 30 different subspecies of Leopard found across both Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and with the once large natural range of the jaguar stretching throughout Central and South America and even into parts of the USA, the panther has become an incredibly adaptable animal that is found in a variety of different habitats.

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Although they are most commonly found in tropical and deciduous forests, the panther can also be found inhabiting both marsh and swampland, along with grasslands and even more hostile areas such as deserts and mountains.

Along with a number of the world's largest felines, the panther is becoming rarer in the wild primarily due to habitat loss in the form of deforestation.

What is a panther's behaviour like?

The panther is an incredibly intelligent and agile animal that is very seldom seen by people in the wild as they are generally very quiet and cautious animals.

Their dark brown fur camouflages the panther both into the surrounding forest and makes them almost invisible in the darkness of night.

The panther is a solitary animal that leads a nocturnal lifestyle, spending much of the daylight hours resting safely high in the trees.

Like both the leopard and the jaguar, panthers are incredible climbers and they not only rest in the trees but they are also able to keep a watchful eye out for prey without being spotted.

The panther is very territorial particularly males whose home ranges overlap those of a number of females and they are threatened by another male.